Funded by a grant from the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources Division of Tobacco Prevention, the group Tobacco Free Falcons has planned a variety of campus events to raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco usage.
The Division of Tobacco Prevention began its Against Tobacco College Initiative in 2005 as way to reach 18 to 24 year olds regarding the dangers of tobacco use and the benefits of stopping tobacco use. College campuses from around the state were invited to participate.
This academic year, the group is hoping to become an officially recognized student organization at Fairmont State University. Student Marissa Biller is organizing the group, along with Dr. Robin Yeager, Director of the Falcon Center.
“The Tobacco Free Falcons mission is to increase awareness and knowledge of tobacco use among students, faculty, staff and community members. The Tobacco Free Falcons would like to increase membership and educate the campus community about how to quit using tobacco and why that’s so important. Our ultimate goal is to save a person’s life,” Biller said.
During Welcome Weekend earlier this month, the Tobacco Free Falcons provided 500 bags with lanyards, information, calculators, pens, pencils, disk covers and other items for new students. During the Back to School Bash/Student Organization Fair on Tuesday, Aug. 27, the Tobacco Free Falcons hosted a display booth to help raise awareness about the effects using tobacco can have on a person’s body and to recruit members for the organization.
The following events are planned for the 2013-2014 academic year:
- Oct. 7-12: Homecoming – Billion Butts cleanup and display; poster contest
- Nov. 21: Great American Smokeout
- Dec. 2: Wishing You a Tobacco Free Holiday
- February 2014: Through with Chew Week
- March 19, 2014: Kick Butts Day
The Tobacco Free Falcons also will present activities at FSU football and basketball games.
The WV Tobacco Quitline, managed by beBetter Networks, has operated since July 2000. The Quitline is free to all West Virginia residents ages 18 and older. The Quitline offers four reactive coaching calls and unlimited reactive calls. Participants are eligible for eight weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy. For more information, visit http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/wvdtp/cessation/Quitline/Pages/default.aspx or call the Quitline at 1 (800) QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1 (877) 966-8784 to speak to a Quitline representative.
For more information about the Tobacco Free Falcons, call (304) 367-4783.